An Apolitical Amadeus

An Apolitical Amadeus

Millions of Mozart lovers have by now been exposed to Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, first on stage and now on screen. They have encountered an oafish, vulgar, and childlike Mozart. Indeed, it is God’s granting of unsurpassed musical genius to such a personality that so bewilders and enrages the pious and civilized Salieri. What a pity, then, that Shaffer’s splendid effort at a true and realistic portrayal of Mozart should avoid politics, which, it can be argued, was an important and controversial part of Mozart’s complex personality. Shaffer has totally depoliticized Mozart, going so far as to have Mozart deny any political content in The Marriage of Figaro. This apolitical portrait not only does disservice to the historical Mozart, but it may also have important implications for how one understands his lack of civility.

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Lima